Clyde “Gus” Traeder, 90, of Quincy, died at 8:52 pm Monday (June 13, 2016) in Blessing Hospital.
Born August 9, 1925, in Rome, Wisconsin, Gus was the son of Albert and Elsie Vinz Traeder. He married Trudy Riley, who preceded him in death in 1953. He married Fern Mixer on June 18, 1955, in Camp Point, Illinois. She survives.
In 1949, Gus moved to Quincy from Wisconsin to manage the Montgomery Ward Farm store. In that position, he was introduced to a new product called the go-kart, which changed his and his family’s life and influenced the Quincy community for the next several decades.
Gus and his wife Fern built TNT Kartways in West Quincy to sell and race these vehicles, and within six years, ABC Wide World of Sports televised a national championship at the facility, introducing the sport to a national audience. Eighteen national championships and over a dozen vintage kart races were held at the track over the years, making Quincy a destination for go-kart racers from all over the world. The Miller Grand Prix of Karting Classic, originally created and promoted by Gus as part of Quincy’s Dogwood Festival, ran in South Park for 32 years following its premiere in 1970. In more recent years, Gus took karting to Maine Street with the Uptown Karting Classic, and put on races in many other states. Gus and Fern also started and operated several successful franchises, including the Harley-Davidson, Yamaha and Honda motorcycle lines, and a multitude of additional product lines over the years, including Datsun, MG and Jaguar autos and Schwinn bicycles. In 1977, Gus was awarded the first Yamaha golf car distributorship in the nation.
Gus was a tireless supporter of the Quincy Blue Devil basketball program, and over 30 years, put in many hours on behalf of the program, including serving on the founding committee of the Thanksgiving Holiday Tournament. In the early 1970’s, Gus and Fern donated the scoreboard currently decorating the south wall of the gymnasium.
For his contribution to the sport of go-karting, Gus was elected to the World Karting National Racing Hall of Fame. He was the first inductee to the Vintage Karting Hall of Fame, named as Karting’s Greatest Promoter. Gus is a member of the Quincy High Sports Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Quincy Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame in 2013.
Gus loved Quincy, often describing it as the “best community in the world.” Those who knew Gus admired his love for competition and negotiation, his charisma and drive, and his courage to create and promote new ventures and events. At age 88, he started his last venture, TNT Gold Cup Seniors, a league for golfers over the age of 60.
Gus was a member of Luther Memorial Church.
Survivors include his wife Fern; a son, Terry Traeder (Glori) of Quincy; a daughter, Tamara Traeder of St. Helena, CA; three grandchildren, Jason Traeder (Jamie) of Quincy, Tara Traeder Waldman (Justin) of San Diego, CA, and Paige Traeder of Chicago, IL; three great grandchildren, Calvin Rory Traeder, Silas Ronald Traeder and Benjamin August Waldman; two brothers, Howard Traeder (Jane) of Muskego, WI and Dwayne Traeder of New Richmond, WI; two sisters, Corrine Shaw of Janesville, WI and Yvonne Richards of Black River Falls, WI; and many nieces and nephews. Gus was preceded in death by his parents; a sister in law, Maxine Traeder; and two brothers in law, James Shaw and Terry Richards.
Funeral services will be held Friday morning at 11:00 in Luther Memorial Church, 12th & Jersey, Quincy, with Pastor Tony Metz officiating. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery.
Visitation will be Thursday evening from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Luther Memorial Church, and Friday morning from 10:00 until the time of services at Luther Memorial Church.
The Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Luther Memorial Church or to Chaddock School.